As payers and providers across healthcare shift their focus to value-based care, leaders in the medical device industry are racing to keep up. Michael Pederson, SVP of cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure at Abbott, told MassDevice.com why simply solving problems with new technology isn’t enough anymore, learn here.
What was your path like from electrical engineering to Abbott’s cardiac arrhythmia business?
Pederson: As an engineer, I’ve always been drawn to how technology can evolve and re-shape entire industries. In particular, health technology can fundamentally change the lives of people battling complex health conditions. Seeing new therapies or diagnostic tools go from the earliest stages of research and design and evolving into the products physicians and hospitals deploy to positively change the course of someone’s life never stops inspiring me.
After receiving my MBA, I was in Minneapolis-St. Paul looking for a job that would bring me back into cutting-edge technology. Within Minneapolis-St. Paul, the foremost industry is medtech. From startups to some of the largest health tech companies in the world – Minneapolis-St. Paul is home to so many innovative companies. In 1992 I joined Guidant Corp., which at the time was a leader in cardiac pacing technology.
From there I held various leadership roles and remained with the company until it was acquired by Boston Scientific, which I joined in 2006. From there my experience continued to expand beyond cardiac rhythm management into electrophysiology and ablation. After a number of years with a startup focused on advancing ablation therapy, I joined Abbott in 2015 and was named head of the new Cardiac Arrhythmias & Heart Failure division after the acquisition of St. Jude Medical in 2016.
What trends are you keeping an eye on in the medical device industry?
Pederson: For me, a trend that will truly set innovation apart for companies like Abbott is how we apply technology to health problems that remain unsolved even today. But solving the problem isn’t enough – we need to add value to the equation so that physicians, hospitals and payers can capitalize on the benefit of these therapies. We’re still in the early innings in terms of applying information to drive efficiency.
Another trend that I am passionate about is how we continue to shift from treatment toward prevention and diagnosis earlier in the care continuum. Many of our devices are used once a person has a disease that has advanced significantly. We can and will get better at deploying technology earlier to improve outcomes and improve the health of our patients.
What technologies in Abbott’s cardiac arrhythmia/heart failure division are you most excited about?
Pederson: Cardiac rhythm management was my first love in medical devices and I truly believe that while we do a really good job for those patients, there is still an opportunity for innovation in that space. Leadless pacing is an example of the kind of innovation that can take an established field within medical devices and completely reimagine how a therapy is utilized to improve people’s lives and improve outcomes.
I’m also excited about continuing to advance our heart failure and atrial fibrillation portfolios because those two conditions still remain largely unsolved. They are truly costly epidemic conditions. Technologies applied to these disease states are still relatively young and we have a lot of opportunity for advancement while adding speed and efficiency to the system to decrease costs associated with the conditions.
Lastly, to my earlier point about shifting toward prevention and improved diagnosis, some of our devices I’m most excited about are those that help physicians better monitor or proactively manage conditions like heart failure or arrhythmias and make the best treatment decisions they can, empowered by more information.